A veritable outpouring of ignorance, sensationalism, hypocrisy and misogyny…

I have read and watched all the self-righteous condemnation on social media, and even the mainstream media, of the eleven young women that were arrested for allegedly engaging in an unnatural sexual act with a dog. I have seen in sheer amazement all sorts of retarded posts purporting to draw pseudo-scientific inferences based on the ethnicity and faith of the young women.

I am amazed by our hypocritical Pharisaic declarations, and by our national willingness to swallow a sensationalised piece of garbage hook, line and sinker without so much as a perfunctory attempt to establish the actual facts of the case. And I am deeply deeply disappointed by our complete failure to address the REAL issues revealed by this story, which is not about bestiality but about a group of young intelligent women drawn into prostitution and all its indignities (which in this case does not appear to have in fact included any sexual acts with a dog).

An estimated 1 million children enter Standard 1, and only 30,000 make it to university – a measly 3%, only 3 out of every one hundred for heaven’s sake! By any definition, this 30,000 are the crème de la crème of their generation. If as a society we cannot adequately provide for this infinetismally tiny outstanding minority, to protect them from callous exploitation, to enable them focus on their studies not on keeping body and soul together, to spare them from wealthy jackals and hyaenas that would misuse and degrade them, then of what use are we as a nation?

What about those that are not engaging in prostitution and/or pornography – what are they ‘hassling’? Armed robberies? Drug peddling? Pimping? Second hand clothes? Cheap perfumes? Dubious electronics? In all cases, aren’t they all spending time that would be better spent on sharpening their intellects, broadening their scholarly horizons, honing their professional skills, on just staying alive? Aren’t we, through neglecting this superior group, especially those from poor families, entrenching the great inequities that already scar our society?

There are those who will engage in the most despicable, heinous and inhuman acts out of plain simple avarice, laziness, a love of short-cuts and a general lack of values. In this category are the billionaire politicians that still loot the public purse and immensely well-paid judges that still collect bribes to administer injustice. But when a no-name citizen of a fairly young age, of obviously remarkable intelligence, from a deprived background sacrifices her virtue – which is a woman’s most valuable asset, given how disproportionately harshly society judges her – I am forced to ask whether there isn’t more to her act than mere avarice and a lack of values. These young women have have obviously betrayed deeply held societal mores, but society too has betrayed them by placing them in a situation where they felt such a mindbogglingly bad option is the only choice they had.

You are probably wondering whether I am excusing the alleged act – no I am not! I am taking issue with three things: first, that the media severely misreported the matter – and we Kenyans, with our love for sexually-oriented sensationalism, swallowed it all as if it was gospel truth; secondly, that we are all racing each other in condemning these women without pausing to wonder why they would be part of a humiliating prostitution ring, given their apparent levels of intelligence; and thirdly, why we would in ways that are indescribably stupid seek to give the matter an ethnic and/or religious twist. Most importantly, I am saying that no young person that makes it into higher education should have to desperately struggle to stay there. When I went to university, the state all but paid us to excel – by providing (upfront) food, accommodation, and a termly/semester stipend to meet other needs, all on a very very soft loan indeed. THAT is the way to treat the miniscule elite that overcomes the vast challenges and hurdles of our education system to make it into higher education – not forcing them into all sorts of nefarious activities and injurious pursuits that open them to exploitation by the cynical wealthy and powerful.

I hope that once we are through being horrified by the alleged ‘unAfrican’ acts of those poor young women, we shall go beyond the superfluous outrage and ask ourselves the fundamental question why any woman, leave alone one of superior intelligence, would reduce themselves thus – then and only then, will we begin to find a solution.

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8 thoughts on “A veritable outpouring of ignorance, sensationalism, hypocrisy and misogyny…

  1. Maureen says:

    Nice and objective piece on the whole saga. My reaction to the issue was to ask who doesn’t watch and keep a few porn on their iPhone or laptop. We should stop this Holly Joe attitude. I know one of the girls on personal level, contrary to what we’ve heard, none of them are college student. If so maybe one or two of them only. The lady I know at personal level was married in the village, had three kids, lived a very miserable life hawking bananas to feed her husband and kids, she found her way to Mombasa and vowed to make a living, she goes shooting porn videos as far as Italy, she’s married to a respectable white Guy and they have two lovely kids. And no the husband doesn’t encourage her to do the videos, it’s her own thing motivated by what awaits her back home. Before we judge, we should know the facts, am not saying it’s right, but let’s be sober about the whole issue.

    • fredokono says:

      Hi Maureen,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment – and for sharing the story of one of the accused.

      We have different value systems, and there are those that will argue that there is absolutely no reason on earth why a woman – however desperate her circumstances – should engage in prostitution or the making of pornography. And there are those that will argue that so long as the said woman is an adult of sound mind that has not been coerced or mislead into doing these things, but is doing them by her own considered choice, then it is absolutely nobody else’s business! This is what freedom of conscience and personal freedoms are all about!

      Fred

  2. ndegwa says:

    This is interesting a very different angle. That said the writer needs to acknowledge allegations that some of these ladies are from the Pwani university. It thus may not be a function of lack of institutions of higher learning only.

    I think there are two issues here. The first, is what the author has referred to, as the get rich quick attitude that has engulfed our society. It is characterised by a need to depict opulence in our lifestyles. This consumerism culture is the unfortunate inheritance we are bequeathing our children. Are we thus surprised when they want to earn 3k for 5 minutes so that they can buy android phones and wear 5k shoes, 5k weaves etc etc

    The second is the the fact that little is being done in this country on job creation. This country needs to embrace industrialisation. Our oil should be used to subsidize industries since it is a known fact that Kenya is rick in human resource. Once we have plentiful of non skilled labour required our university students will prefer to keep their dignity work in the factories earn the peanuts and funnel their lifestyles by the time they are through they will be equipped enough to be manager trainees in the very industries they will have worked in. After all isn’t that how college students in the west earn a living by mopping tables?

    • fredokono says:

      Hi Ndegwa,

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to make a well-reasoned comment.

      You misunderstand me. If it is indeed true that some of this young women were from a university or universities in the region, then it is my considered opinion that they are part of an elite group within their generation – the minuscule 3% that successfully make it through the numerous barriers in our education system to get to the pinnacle. It is on this basis that I say society has a responsibility to cater for them in a way that protects them from exploitation by dubious characters who may seek to take advantage of their economic desperation. I do not suggest a lack of institutions of higher learning – even tnough that is indeed an issue as well.

      Of course this is not to say that all people that engage in vice doe so out of economic desperation. As I say in the post, there are those who will engage in the most despicable, heinous and inhuman acts out of plain simple avarice, laziness, a love of short-cuts and a general lack of values – what I ask is that rather than just engaging in blanket vociferous self-righteous condemnation, we should pause for just a moment to contemplate why these young women have betrayed deeply held societal mores, and whether society too has betrayed them by placing them in a situation where they felt such a mindbogglingly bad option is the only choice they had.

      I agree with you that poverty is a great nurturer of crime and all sorts of vices, because poverty begets desperation – that is why economically depressed neighbourhoods tend to have more muggings, wife-beatings, prostitution, illicit liquor, drugs, etc. As you say, growing the economy and creating employment opportunities MUST be part of the action plan for controlling vice. Judgemental pontificating, as we have seen in this matter, will not solve the problem!

      Fred

  3. While I hear your concerns around vilifying these women, I disagree with you on the need to strongly condemn these acts. Truth be told is there are pple who have had it a lot worse but have not stopped to this level. It does not mean them having it badly on either side is a good thing but in it in no way leaves a gray area between what is right or wrong. I think as a society we would be failing if we don’t strongly condemn this, n by condemning I mean call it out as wrong n call 4an end to it. Perhaps where we fail is that we condemn n end it there. Perhaps we need to provide ways out as am sure these ladies in their hearts of hearts wouldn’t mind a way out. But condemn we must. Think of these as your sisters or daughters, would you think twice bout condemning the act, in love? You probably strongly condemn it, then begin to reason with them on a way out. N that’s not to mean the condemners we don have any wrongs, but hopefully others condemn as well in love for our wrongs.

    • fredokono says:

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment – much appreciated.
      I agree with you – we must indeed condemn vice and promote virtue. It is a duty incumbent on all of us that aspire to a better, gentler, more caring society.
      I am NOT excusing the alleged act – no I am not! I am taking issue with four things: First, that the media severely misreported the matter – and we Kenyans, with our love for sexually-oriented sensationalism, swallowed it all as if it was gospel truth. That in itself is a vice that must also be condemned in equal measure. There was no dog involved – a fact that the authorities have unequivocally confirmed. That was a calculated lie by the media to boost circulation/website hits, based on their obviously good knowledge of what makes Kenyans tick!
      Secondly, it distresses me that we are all racing each other in condemning these women without pausing to wonder why they would be part of a humiliating prostitution ring, given their apparent levels of intelligence. To merely condemn the act, without empathy, serves neither these women nor the society we purport to care for and protect. It is by diagnosing the cause of this moral malaise that we shall find a sustainable cure for it.
      Thirdly, in the strongest terms possible, I condemn the indescribably stupid attempts (and there have been many!) to give the matter an ethnic and/or religious twist. So long as we wilfully live in a fools paradise that purports that vice is the exclusive preserve of people from certain tribes and faiths, we will not solve the problem – and may in fact aggravate it through such self-serving marginalisation of some groups.
      Fourthly, and most importantly, I am saying that no young person that makes it into higher education should have to desperately struggle to stay there. This I say because of the reports that one, or some, or even all, of the young women are university students. Students in higher education are such a tiny minority of top-edge survivors, given the wastage in our education system – they should not be forced into all sorts of nefarious activities and injurious pursuits to survive, activities that open them to exploitation by the cynical wealthy and powerful.
      This is the essence of my post. I absolutely do not seek to whitewash the actions of the women.

      Fred

  4. Christine says:

    Dear Fred,

    I recently begun to follow your blog after a common friend – Chrenyan – reposted something you wrote on facebook. I read newspapers online and hardly follow the local news, so I think I missed the story on the ladies.

    I read your post this morning, but it has taken me almost 4 hours to write this because I had to think about it first. And the reason I know write is because I have just come accross a post that quite frankly worried me a little. Basically, the post puts emphasis on material wealth over values, and in my opnion, openly discriminates the poor because they are poor and not because for example their moral values stink! Unfortunately, this post is from a very public figure and has gotten so many responses basically saying that she has inspired people and made their day.

    Back to your post, it seems that in our culture, we have come to value material things so much over moral values, such that…..if you get rich through dubious means, as long as you are not caught, its OK. But if you get caught, we will pass very harsh judgement on you….not because we are people of sound moral values ourselves, but because you were stupid enough to get caught and also because we revel in other people’s demise.

    If we truly cared about these girls, like you have rightly put it, rather than judge, we could look behind the reason why they do what they do…..and if indeed they chose to do what they do out of choice, then it is none of our business….we respect their right to choose! We do not judge….for we are not qualified to do so! That is not to say that we do not condemn such acts….but I dare say that if we taught our children to value good morals, integrity of material things, then that would not even be an issue!

    • fredokono says:

      Dear Christine,
      Thank you so much for reading – and taking the time to write such an insightful comment.
      I couldn’t possibly agree with you more! You are perfectly right – our national culture has become highly materialistic and ostentatiously so. Not only do we want to own more and live a life of indulgent luxury, we want to do so in a conspicuous and show-offish way – we want the world to know that we are leading the good life!
      And because wealth and ‘good living’ has become our supreme deity – immaterial of tribal or political inclinations – anything that is done in the pursuit of wealth has been legitimised. So long as one is rich, and ostentatiously so, all their sins are forgiven and forgotten. In fact, any sins that they may have committed in pursuit of that wealth are obliterated from record and memory – and they are hailed as saints and exemplars for the rest of us.
      This attitude has of course filtered down to the younger generations who are only now beginning to accumulate earthly possessions – they too dream of similar wealth by any means necessary, but most preferably where those means do not involve long and arduous struggle, patience and inconvenient principles that serve as hindrances!
      Poverty has all but been criminalised, made unbearably painful. The religious allege it is a sign of God’s disfavour, and the prosperous take it as an indication of laziness or lack of entrepreneurial intelligence, or even poor genes! Either way, the poor are made to feel and understand that they must do everything possible, legal and illegal, humane and inhuman, to get out of poverty – and failing to do so condemns them to bottom-tier citizenship of the nation and ‘sewerage membership’ of society.
      It is this culture that may lead those that are not ethically fortified to engage in acts that are truly abhorrent even abominable, acts that demean them, acts that may even make them hate themselves and further lower their self-esteem. Acts like prostitution and the making of pornography. And of course because we are a society that is already built on materialistic falsehood, when these acts do happen we are quick to condemn and vilify, and sensationalise and misinform and disinform – as if in some way this redeems our own sordidness!
      Personally, Christine, I refuse to condemn the poor and the desperate that are forced to make these choices without also condemning the society that has made it nigh impossible for them to lead a dignified and upright life concomitant with the values that the said society hypocritically defines. We must not blame the victims for landing in the very situation that the victimiser destined for them.

      Fred

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